FAQs

1. What is a fuel cell?
2. What is the difference between Ballard's proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology and others, such as solid oxide and phosphoric acid?
3.Where does hydrogen fuel come from?
4 How can I purchase Ballard’s products?
5. Can I get a Ballard product for my home or car?
6. Do you give tours of your Vancouver headquarters or other facilities?


1. What is a fuel cell?
A fuel cell combines hydrogen fuel and oxygen from air to produce electrical energy efficiently, quietly and reliably. The only by-products are water and heat. Watch this animation to see how a fuel cell works.

Fuel cells produce electricity without combustion, which means that, unlike internal combustion engines, they generate little (if any) noise, vibration, air pollution, or greenhouse gases and operate at high efficiencies over a wide range of loads.

Unlike batteries, fuel cells do not have a need for replacement or lengthy recharging when its fuel is spent. Additionally, since fuel cells store their fuel in external storage tanks, the maximum operating range of a fuel cell-powered device is limited only by the amount of fuel that can be carried.

2. What is the difference between Ballard's proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology and others, such as solid oxide and phosphoric acid?
PEM fuel cells use a solid polymer membrane (a thin plastic film) as an electrolyte, rather than a liquid or high-temperature ceramic. PEM fuel cells are compact and produce a powerful electric current relative to their size. Unlike other technologies PEM fuel cells operate at a low temperature (less than 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit), which allows for faster start-up and rapid response to changes in the demand for power (load following), are ideally suited to both motive and stationary applications and are available in power outputs ranging from sub-kilowatt to multi-megawatt. 

 

3. Where does hydrogen fuel come from?
There is flexibility in how hydrogen is created, depending on what feedstock and power sources are available. Hydrogen can be produced in large amounts from primary energy sources, such as fossil fuels (coal, oil, or natural gas), as a by-product from a variety of chemical processes (chlor-alkali, refinery products) and from alternative resources such as biomass, biogas, and waste materials. Hydrogen can also be produced by water electrolysis, which uses electricity from renewable sources, such as wind or solar, to split hydrogen and oxygen elements. Hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas, butane, methanol, gasoline and others can be used in conjunction with a fuel processor, which extracts a hydrogen stream from the original fuel. Read more...

4. How can I purchase Ballard’s products?
Ballard offers a comprehensive portfolio of fuel cell products to meet the needs of a wide range of market applications - both stationary and motive power.

To purchase a Ballard product, please provide us with information on your company as well as the application you have in mind for Ballard's fuel cell products via this online form on the right side of this page. We will then direct your request to a sales representative who will follow up with you directly.

5. Can I get a Ballard product for my home or car?
Ballard supplies fuel cell stacks to system integrators for integration into end-user products. These integrators may offer products for demonstration purposes or sale.

Ballard is not selling fuel cells for vehicle prototyping or retrofitting purposes. Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, a joint-venture between Daimler, Ford Motor Company and Ballard Power Systems, is developing next-generation technology for zero-emission automobiles. Please visit www.afcc-auto.com for additional information.

6. Do you give tours of your Vancouver headquarters or other facilities?
Regrettably, no. Due to the proprietary and competitive nature of fuel cell technology, we cannot offer tours of our facilities.

If you have a question we have not answered here, please let us know by sending an e-mail to marketing@ballard.com.



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